Pharmacokinetics, safety and efficacy of saquinavir/ ritonavir 1,000/100 mg twice daily as HIV type-1 therapy and transmission prophylaxis in pregnancy

Nils von Hentig, Gabi Nisius, Tessa Lennemann, Pavel Khaykin, Christoph Stephan, Errol Babacan, Schlomo Staszewski, Michael Kurowski, Sebastian Harder, Annette Haberl
Antiviral Therapy 2008, 13 (8): 1039-46

BACKGROUND: A saquinavir/ritonavir-containing regimen is one option for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy. We evaluated the pharmacokinetics, efficacy and safety of saquinavir/ritonavir 1,000/100 mg twice daily plus nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors in 13 women during late pregnancy and compared the results to those of 15 non-pregnant women.

METHODS: Protease inhibitor plasma concentration profiles were assessed at 12 h using a standardized therapeutic drug monitoring procedure and measured by LC-MS/MS. Minimum and maximum concentrations (C(min) and C(max)), area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC(0-12 h)), and total clearance (CL(total)) were compared between the groups and correlated to demographic, physiological and clinical cofactors. Antiviral and immunological efficacy and safety were investigated.

RESULTS: The geometric means (90% confidence interval [CI]) for saquinavir C(min), C(max) and AUC(0-2 h) of pregnant versus non-pregnant women were 572 (437-717) versus 765 (485-1,052, P = 0.064) ng/ml, 2,168 (1,594-2,807) versus 3,344 (2,429-4,350; P = 0.045) ng/ml and 15,512 (11,657-19,943) versus 24,027 (17,454-31,548, P = 0.029) ng x h/ml. The geometric means (90% CI) for ritonavir C(min), C(max) and AUC(0+12 h) were 190 (148-234) versus 310 (240-381, P = 0.011) ng/ml, 781 (580-999) versus 1,552 (1,127-2,007, P = 0.004) ng/ml and 5,576 (4,303-7,006) versus 10,528 (8,131-13,177, P = 0.003) ng x h/ml. Age, weight, saquinavir dose per weight and body mass index differed significantly; saquinavir C(min) and AUC(0-12 h) were correlated with ritonavir C(min) and saquinavir dose per weight. After a mean of 11 weeks treatment, 12 of 13 pregnant women had a viral load < 400 copies/ml, which was similar to the results of non-pregnant women.

CONCLUSIONS: Although saquinavir plasma concentrations were significantly lower in pregnant women compared with non-pregnant women, all pregnant women displayed a saquinavir AUC(0-12 h) > 10,000 ng x h/ml, 92.3% had a viral load < 400 copies/ml at birth. Saquinavir was well tolerated by the mothers and all newborn children were HIV type-1 negative at 18 months of age.

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